Aug 01, 2019, 05:55AM

As Life Demands

Happy to have a moment away from parenthood.

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You go to a restaurant at the top of the hill, with a beautiful view of the water and the city on the other side of the bay. You take the rare opportunity of Saturday afternoon childcare coverage and settle on the restaurant at the top of the hill. The toddler will be fine, though you know very little about the young woman in her mid-20s who’ll be watching her. She reminds you of your cousin, and your cousin would be good with two-year-olds, four hours at a time.

You’re tired, losing the battle to a cold, but charging ahead as life demands it. You park. You’re seated. There is the view, if only the other patrons weren't there to pollute this meal. At first, the douchebag across seems harnless enough. Probably 35, his hat is backward and his Jordans are too clean. He has some kind of amulet around his neck. The older douchebag across from him mentions how happy he is that he just dropped his wife and kids at the airport. They're headed to Boston and he has some sort of wealthy-big-boy freedom. He sips his champagne and laughs too loudly. I can't help but think of teaching The Great Gatsby to the 11th graders a few years ago. They obsessed about their Jordans as well. The poverty-stricken and uber-wealthy both love brands more than the rest of us. You and your partner, happy to have a moment away from parenthood, order lunch.

Then come the leather-skinned old lady duo. They ask to sit at the table away from us and we think we have a minor victory. Then the hostess realizes she can't sit them at the other two-top. One of the seats is reserved for douchebag number three. With no other options, the pink-bloused, gold necklaced 65-year-old sits down next to us. Her friend is too close for me to observe without staring, but it's safe to say she was wearing something sensible that showed off her money in some way. For the next 45 minutes we’re treated to a diatribe about dental experiences, customer service, billing minutiae, and more dental opinions. Next up on the list of topics: skin problems, and irritation at the Asian doctor who didn't treat her like royalty while dealing with her skin spots.

Your food hasn't arrived yet. You ordered at least 30 minutes ago. It's as if you've been tossed into a special corner of hell. You talk with your partner about the toddler and the upcoming preschool and future calendar dates. You appreciate seeing your lady up here with this view, if it wasn't for all the other people surrounding you both.

Finally, you realize other people have received bread and butter. You track down the server. You ask for bread and butter. It arrives. It’s very good. Warm and fresh. More talk from the windbags. Money. Billing. Insisting on seeing your grandson because it’s your birthday. You’re not shocked her child doesn't want to bring the grandkids by more often.

Now the food arrives. The fried chicken and waffle are both mouth-watering. The burger is fine. You share both with your partner. You ask for the check. You pay the bill. You drive down the hill, back to parenthood.


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